After breakfast we jumped back into the car to resume our long journey to Canada.
Having just completed my first semester of law school, I was eager as a bee to read a few books for sheer pleasure instead of having to slog through a lot of really boring texts. I opened my knapsack in the back seat and examined a few of my choices: Geek Love, a book Mindy gave me which chronicles the lives of a circus freak family (a must read for you, Bubs, if you haven't already); The Shipping News, which takes place in Newfoundland, but which I figured was close enough to Nova Scotia to suit the ambiance; and David Sedaris's anthology Barrel Fever which, because it contains the story of "The Santaland Diaries," is a customary holiday read for me.
"Would you guys like me to read aloud The Santaland Diaries as is my annual holiday tradition?" I asked.
"What is that?" they both replied.
"A story by David Sedaris. You've never heard of it?"
They both replied that they had not. So, I opened up my dog-eared volume of Sedaris's short essays and started in on his highly amusing tale of his experiences working as a Christmas elf at Macy's. I began to read aloud. "Working as an elf in Macy's SantaLand means being at the center of the excitement...."
George and Michael positively howled as I made my way through this hilarious story of Sedaris's elfly trials and tribulations which include everything from dealing with pox covered children, to enduring the abuse of an African-American mother who complained that the black Santa wasn't black enough, to assisting a little girl without a nose.
"Oh my god, that was hysterical!" George exclaimed when I was done. "You read that so well - you must have practiced it for years!"
"No, but I have heard him read it aloud many times on NPR. I can't believe you've done without it at Christmastime for so long," I replied. I think George smiled broadly for the remainder of our vacation.
It was a long trip that day as we drove all the way to Saint John, New Brunswick, where we found a roadside motel room to sleep in for the night. We unloaded our essentials and went in search of dinner.
"Do you think they have poutine in New Brunswick?"
"What is poutine?" George asked.
"You've never had a poutine?" I replied incredulously. "You're in for a real treat. It's basically a mound of french fries covered in gravy and then smothered under melted cheese. It's a Canadian specialty, or at least in Quebec. It's fabulous."
"I think I'm going to be sick," Michael said. He wasn't feeling well for most of the trip, which made him more than slightly cantankerous a lot of the time.
"Well, it sounds, um, interesting," George said, trying to be diplomatic.
The menu of the diner where we settled in for dinner sadly did not feature poutine, although they did have some other Canadian delicacy involving fried meat which I tried but was not impressed with. We were all tired anyway.
After dinner George got up to use the restroom, while Michael and I went out to warm up the car. Michael sat down behind the wheel and I went over to the passenger's side. My door was locked.
"Unlock the door please," I said.
"I'm trying to. I think it's stuck," he replied. I couldn't see what he was doing because it was very dark outside.
"Did you press the automatic 'unlock' button? I think it is supposed to unlock all four doors at once."
"YES I PRESSED 'UNLOCK'! WHAT AM I, SOME KIND OF FUCKING MORON? JESUS CHRIST!" He totally lit into me. "GOD DAMNIT, DON'T YOU THINK I KNOW HOW TO UNLOCK A FUCKING CAR DOOR?" He was literally screaming.
I was stunned. I knew Michael could be a crabby pants and that he wasn't feeling well, but this went well beyond the limit of acceptable behavior. Once the door finally opened I got into the back seat and just bit my tongue. I wasn't sure how to respond to his sudden upbraiding, as if there were any appropriate response at all, and besides, I saw George approaching and I didn't want to get into any kind of discussion in front of him.
Instead, I did the only reasonable thing which was to take out my passive-aggressive card and remain as silent as possible for the rest of the evening. When we got back to the motel, I promptly unpacked my sleeping attire, brushed my teeth and got into one of the three beds.
"Are you going to sleep now?" Michael and George both asked me.
"Yes, but you two can stay up and do whatever you want. You won't bother me." I closed my eyes and turned my back to them. I was majorly pissed.
The two of them sat up for a while and chatted. To add insult to injury, Michael just acted as normal as pie, as if he hadn't twenty minutes prior verbally abused me without so much as a whisper of an apology afterward. I felt it was going to be a long, long trip, and I dreaded whatever was to follow.
I am Coaster Punchman and you have just entered my world. I rule it with an iron fist, so if you're looking for First Amendment protection, you will not find it here. I have a now deceased crazy Chinese mother-in-law, and sometimes I wear Crocs around the house. I don't like flip-flops or Mormons. I'm also a cyberstalker by trade -- so I could look up all sorts of random shit about you if I wanted, but I probably won't because I'm pretty lazy.